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Translocation of Limonium perplexum (Plumbaginaceae), a threatened coastal endemic

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Abstract

Limonium perplexum Sáez and Rosselló is an herbaceous—perennial to annual—, triploid apomictic halophyte which only lives on a small outcrop (40 sq. m.) of a low coastal cliff in Serra d’Irta (Peñíscola, Castellón, Valencian Community, Spain). The population has been observed to fluctuate between 19 and 383 individuals, and the site is affected by collapse risk caused by marine storms. To save this species, 9 new populations—neopopulations—have been planted close by—0.12 to 7.35 km—, with 4,198 individuals planted throughout 2005–2014. The fluctuation of the native population shows a correlation between the number of individuals and the maximum daily rainfall of the second quarter—April to June. Survival of the founder individuals on available microhabitats fluctuates between 36 and 77 %. New populations show a strong initial decline during the first 2 years, but in that time an initial pool of seeds is generated, which can yield the first recruitment of seedlings. The establishment of new generations is not apparently restricted by seeds, but by the need to grow in safe conditions—mainly on rock crevices holding soil and being protected against the effects of excessive wind and sun radiation. Similarity between the inter-annual changes in censuses of the native population and neopopulations is taken as a measurement of the establishment success. Apparently no former similar works have been published with endangered species of Limonium, although this genus holds more than 400 species.

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Acknowledgments

The conservation activities with Limonium perplexum have been partially co-funded by the European Union’s structural and cohesion European funds EAFG and EAFRD through the Regional Development Plan-Operative Programme of the Valencian Community. The authors are grateful to M.A. Gómez Serrano (VAERSA-Wildlife Service of the Generalitat Valenciana) for some useful comments to draft this article. This paper could not be drafted without the effort of people carrying out the germination and production of new plants (Francisco J. Albert, Mari C. Escribá and Víctor Martínez, CIEF), the establishment and maintenance of seed orchards (Silvia Sánchez and Luz Cocina, IES Alto Palancia) and the plantation in Serra d’Irta (Biodiversity Brigade-Castellón province, Wildlife Service of the Generalitat Valenciana). Dr. Miguel Verdú (Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación y Erosión) provided statistical advice. Three anonymous reviewers have enhanced the manuscript notably during the edition process.

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Correspondence to Emilio Laguna.

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Communicated by Dr. Thomas Abeli and Prof. Kingsley Dixon.

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Laguna, E., Navarro, A., Pérez-Rovira, P. et al. Translocation of Limonium perplexum (Plumbaginaceae), a threatened coastal endemic. Plant Ecol 217, 1183–1194 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-016-0643-4

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